Sheffield urged to appoint cycling champion and allow bikes on trams

Recommendations are among 19 contained in report following cycling inquiry launched last year

by Simon_MacMichael   April 14, 2014  

Sheffield Supertram (picture copyright Stagecoach Group plc)

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A report following an inquiry into cycling in Sheffield has urged the city’s council to to appoint a cycling champion and for non-folding bikes to be allowed on the city’s trams outside peak times following a cycling inquiry launched last year.

The recommendations are among 19 that feature in the inquiry’s report which is to be discussed by the city’s cabinet on Wednesday, reports the Sheffield Telegraph.

Others include greater integration with public transport, encouraging new riders, and improving cycle safety including through raising awareness of cyclists among motorists, and promoting the city’s cycle network to make the idea of taking to a bike “less daunting” for new riders.

The report comes less than three months before Sheffield, which together with Rotherham forms England’s sixth most populous urban area, hosts the finish of Stage 2 of the Tour de France.

It calls on the council to show political leadership to increase levels of cycling in the city, which have more than doubled in the decade to 2011 but still account for just two percent of trips there.

The report says: “We found that Sheffield compares reasonably well with other cities, but we want to do even better.”

CycleSheffield, which made the initial suggestion that the inquiry be set up, and Sustrans were among the organisations that submitted responses to it.

Mick Nott, chairman of CycleSheffield, quoted in the Sheffield Star, said: “Developing cycling is not expensive compared to transport, health, leisure, tourism and air quality budgets, and has a great return for every pound spent.”

Overturning the ban on non-folding bikes on the city’s trams may be easier said than done.

As we reported in January, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) continues to oppose bikes being carried on Sheffield’s Supertram system, despite being urged to follow the example of London’s Docklands Light Railway in London, which now allows them outside peak hours.

And in November last year, Supertram operator Stagecoach highlighted to councillors who oversee SYPTE what it saw as “safety risks” involved with permitting full-size bikes on trams.

Those included the “risk of conflict” between cyclists and other passengers; bikes becoming “projectiles” should a crash happen; and passengers’ clothes getting dirty if they brush against a bicycle.

5 user comments

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Allowing bikes on Trams has to be the best step forward for an integrated transport policy. Manchester doesn't allow bikes on trams even though its got £20 million to develop infrastructure. This infrastructure appears to be include putting bike hoops next to the new metro link in Withenshaw. Who in their right mind would leave their bike alone in Withenshaw next to the Metro?

posted by dunnoh [176 posts]
14th April 2014 - 18:53

20 Likes

dunnoh wrote:
Allowing bikes on Trams has to be the best step forward for an integrated transport policy. Manchester doesn't allow bikes on trams even though its got £20 million to develop infrastructure. This infrastructure appears to be include putting bike hoops next to the new metro link in Withenshaw. Who in their right mind would leave their bike alone in Withenshaw next to the Metro?

Time for that Rosa Parks moment...

posted by SteppenHerring [206 posts]
14th April 2014 - 20:07

21 Likes

more detail on the report is here

http://www.cyclesheffield.org.uk/2014/04/08/10098/

its a big move beyond doing very little and doinng that grudgingly but I think this line is disappointing as I see nothing in the report will move Sheffield beyond the low average:
"We looked at what is happening in the city and compared Sheffield with other cities. We found that Sheffield compares reasonably well with other cities but we want to do even better"
The terms of reference I recall asked something like "why are so many more bike journeys made in Bristol - a comparable city"
There is nothing best practise in the report all average in my opinion lets hope a champion for cyclists can develop some pace and political will

posted by antigee [153 posts]
15th April 2014 - 2:15

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One of the key advantages of combining cycling with public transport is that those who might be deterred from making a trip or part of a trip by bike because of conditions that would not put off 'hardened' riders.

In reviewing a project that looked at this issue it was found that many 'non cyclists' would make journeys by bike with the comfort of being able to use a taxi, tram, or bus, to get around the challenging parts of their journey - this might be hills, weather, and noted by many women, riding back late at night through less salubrious parts of their town or city. Informally, in rural areas, bikes go on to modern low floor buses to avoid the substantial risks of riding on an unlit country road at night - for example the Hamilton-Strathaven service, which is both uphill, and invariably into the prevailing wind over the moor top.

Now despite what the administrations say, what actually happens at the front line can be very different as the pictures show. there is a young lady with a bike on the No 73 bus to Stoke Newington heading back from Euston at 23.00 one night, and causing no one any problems, and, taken from a 'special' tram service run by TfGM for conference delegates, a man with a bike waiting to board a Metrolink tram at Eitihad Stadium in Manchester. Even as LCC and CTC met with DLR to discuss the trials of cycle carriage last year those in the meeting looked across from the office to nearby Poplar Station to see a guy with a bike walking along the platform!

Pragmatically the ability to Police the open boarding systems for most tram and light rail networks will never stop every bike from getting aboard, and a draconian regime will deliver confrontations, and potential for major service disruption, so the sensible position is to manage, by providing clear rules about how and when to travel and relay on the soft policing provided by the disapproval from other passengers, and the impossibility of getting on a packed tram.

It is worth noting here that in May1996 the peak hour ban on cycle carriage on Merseyrail trains was dropped, and they have never seen it necessary to re-introduce it, as it largely self polices, and at weekends, organised rail & ride days out can see 20 or more bikes on a single 3-coach train, and as for the Liverpool to Chester bike ride....

In Manchester for example it actually makes sense to get off at tram at the edge of the city core, pretty much at the same places that the cyclists used to get off the trains they used to use before the arrival of the trams blocked them from the useful routes from Bury and Altrincham, initially and now Oldham as well.

One key argument that the experts bring up is 'excursions within the vehicle' - in plain English that's the effects that happen with the rapid acceleration, and dramatic braking of an emergency stop when magnets drop down and 'glue' the tram on to the rails. With such fierce changes in speed people and the items they have with them become projectiles. Well personally I think I'd fare better fielding off a 12-15Kg bike than say a 80-120Kg person or a wheelchair user flying to the front of the tram when the driver drops in full emergency braking, and in most cases the designated place for a bike would be fitted between draught screens or transverse seating.

The DLR trial generated around 1000 additional journeys per month that were captured by their user counts, and it would seem likely that most other systems would experience a similar boost, a detail which might have some interesting results for Birmingham in particular, where use has remained at a plateau over many years, and the stops (on the old railway line between the centres of Birmingham and Wolverhampton) are some distance from places where the passengers live and work along the route.

The really galling detail is perhaps that the trams used in Croydon, Manchester, Blackpool, and Birmingham are practically identical to the same basic models which carry bikes in almost every other city they are used in (Croydon's newest trams were actually added to a production run for Bergen (picture), where the identical vehicles do carry bikes).

In 2007 TfL did commission world specialists TTK to report concerning cycle carriage on the Croydon system, and the recommendation was that a trial of this be set-up - that report has now been sitting in a drawer at TfL for 7 years, with no sign yet that the recommended action will be delivered.

Bike Bus Citaro 73 edited.JPG P1010990 Manchester.JPG Bergen Tram.jpg

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [486 posts]
15th April 2014 - 4:06

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Step 1: fully integrate public transport with biking (including pedelecs);the investments needed to modify trams, trains and buses (the latter with bike racks at the back?) to carry bikes "safely" are negligible compared to f.i. mere road maintenance due to wear caused by car use.
Step 2: electrify all public transport
Step 3: defossilize electricity generation

Step 1 will save tens of thousands of lifes yearly in the UK alone according to a Sustrans report on combating the health risks caused by exhaust emissions; in fact, the gains would be almost breathtaking (excuse the pun), by slashing expenditure on car infrastructure and national health care (due to an increase in health levels). However, such a bold initiative would meet with fierce resistance of the special interest groups who thrive on the status quo. Which explains why the obvious remains a pipe dream.

Step 2. will massively multiply the gains of step 1

Step 3. will save the planet

And now we would please like to hear the counter-arguments. Anyone? Hello!

The entropy of the universe increases constantly. Carpe diem.

posted by noether [56 posts]
15th April 2014 - 6:14

11 Likes